AVOIDING SALT DAMAGE
De-icing products that contain salt may damage nearby grass by leaching into it. This is likely to cause “physiological drought,” a condition that impedes nutrient uptake and creates bare spots.
If you have to treat walkways across or near the edges of your lawn, choose products made with sodium chloride alternatives, such as calcium chloride.
In addition, when you shovel the front sidewalks after a snowfall, be sure not to pile the white stuff on the grass, as it may contain residue from roadway treatments.
If you are aware of salt spray and melt runoff coming into contact with your turf, be sure to water your lawn deeply as soon as ground temperatures are above freezing, as indicated by a soil thermometer. This will help to flush the salt out and minimize damage.
Also, don’t leave bags of de-icing salt on or near turf areas, as they may leach salt into the soil.
If you didn’t have time to do it in the fall, give your mower a good cleaning and tightening. Repair or replace parts as needed.
Now is a good time to sharpen the mower blades so they can cut cleanly. Dull ones can tear rather than cutting the grass cleanly, leaving grass blades jagged and susceptible to disease, or even tear the crowns away from the roots, leaving bare patches.
Check your height adjustment gear. The ability to raise and lower the cutting deck can make the difference between a lawn that survives a drought, and one that burns off because it was scalped.
Follow the maintenance instructions for your type of mower. For example, if it’s gas-powered, add fuel stabilizer and drain the gas. Store it in a dry, protected place until you’re ready to fire it up in spring.